Students and professors offer community learning opportunity

November 16, 2018
Education students work with elementary school students.
Education students work with elementary school students.
Education students work with elementary school students.
Education students work with elementary school students.
Education students work with elementary school students.

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — In a unique, collaborative effort, 30 students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s School of Education teamed with six professors from the university’s Department of Mathematics to provide “Family Mathematics Night” at the Mineral Point Elementary School in Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

The university students are enrolled in the “Teaching Elementary Mathematics” course taught by Dr. Jodean Grunow, senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and academic staff member in the School of Education at UW-Platteville.

At the Mineral Point School District’s request, the university students, under the direction of Grunow, developed exciting and enriching mathematics explorations for children in grades PK-5. They were joined by mathematics professors Dr. Barb Barnet, Dr. Jason Thrun, Dr. Kevin Haertzen, Dr. Miyeon Kwon and Zehra Muslu, who shared “Mathematicum,” mathematical exploration materials developed and acquired by the Department of Mathematics for use with populations such as those who attended the Family Math Night.

This was the second time that UW-Platteville students have worked with the Mineral Point School District to offer a Family Math Night. To prepare for the event, students studied the district curriculum to select motivating activities which would augment curricular offerings. They then carefully prepared lesson plans, materials and brief assessment questions to measure the success of the investigations. Additionally, the pre-service teachers prepared take-home activities for the students who visited their stations. A practice session was held in class at the university in order to perfect anticipated delivery of the investigations.

“I am so pleased with the students,” said Grunow, who is also a retired mathematics consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. “Their careful preparation, enlightened delivery and analysis of efforts provided an outstanding learning opportunity to be added to the students’ repertoires of pedagogical skills.”

The activities were well received by the elementary students, their parents and Mineral Point Elementary School staff. As one fifth-grade participant remarked, “The activities were great and I loved working with the ‘Mathematicum’ challenges. I hope we do this again.”

“Mathematicum” materials are designed to be available at the university’s Engineering Expo and events such as Family Math Nights for accessors to explore rich and challenging mathematical enigmas. The Family Math Night was the first off-campus debut of the materials.

Arrangements in the district were handled by Erin Edgington, assistant professor of education and STEM coordinator at UW-Platteville, and the Mineral Point Elementary School administration and staff.

Formatted by: Laurie A. Hamer, University Relations Specialist, College of Liberal Arts and Education, 608-342-6191, Written by: Dr. Jodean Grunow, Department of Mathematics and School of Education.


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